The $29/week SNAP Budget Challenge

So apparently, Gwyneth Paltrow failed the $29 per week challenge made by Chef Mario Batali...When Julie at Corner with a View began wondering how much per week we spend on groceries, I just had to resurrect this little blog and share...

Presently we spend approximately $50 or less on groceries per week... (I generally shop every other week so unfortunately you don't get a real time shopping list from me.) I went virtually shopping on peapod.com to show you how I would spend my $50 this week assuming I had (almost) nothing in my pantry.

I'm a nursing mom living with my husband, toddler, and infant daughter. We live in suburban New York (where we have one of the highest COL in the United States). I shop at Stop 'N Shop without coupons.

As a SNAP family we would receive - $29 x 4 = 116 per week....
This week I spent - $60.10

If I used items in my pantry, I would have spent much less. Also some of this lasts for more than one week.

16 oz. bag of carrots $1.50**

16 oz bag frozen broccoli florets $1.79**
16 oz bag frozen corn $0.89**
Cucumber $0.59

Cantaloupe $2.00
5 lb. bag of potatoes $3.99**
3 - Ham Steaks $6.00*
2 - 20.8 oz packages of Ground Turkey $3.99*
1 gal. Whole Milk $4.19
1 doz. eggs $2.19
4 - 6 oz. yogurts $2.00*
64 oz. Apple Juice w/ added Calcium - $1.99
2 liter Lemon Lime Seltzer $0.89
Loaf of Whole Wheat bread $2.29
Cereal $1.99
2 boxes of pasta $1.66
Bag of rice (32 oz) $2.39**
Baked Beans (28 oz) $1.50*
Tomatoes Diced with Zesty Milk Green Chilies $1.79*
Black Beans (15 oz) $0.69
Red Beans (15 oz) $0.69
Grape Jelly $1.59**
Peanut Butter $3.29**
2 Jars of Marinara Sauce *
Taco Seasoning $1.09*
Chocolate Sandwich Cookies $1.00**

* indicates a brand named item
**items that will last for more than one week

If this were a week where cans of coffee were $1.79 with a $25 purchase I would have bought a can of coffee.

It is obvious that if I just randomly shopped for items as we needed them, it would cost more. I shop based on the sales. I stock up when things are inexpensive. For example, the tomatoes for the chili I buy when they are $0.79 a can. Right now, they cost more than double that.

I find shopping on a budget entertaining. I like to see how much I can get for the least amount of money. We eat pretty simple meals but, they are tasty, filling, and healthy. Breakfast for dinner is not unheard of because we like it and there is little preparation.

From these items our meal choices are: 
Lunch/Dinner: 
(The biggest meal of the day depends on when we are home. My husband works crazy hours and my hours are unpredictable. The smaller of the two meals is leftovers.)
Chili w/ beans and rice
Ham steaks w/ baked beans and potatoes
Meatballs w/ pasta and sauce
Vegetable fried rice
Pasta w/ vegetables and sauce
Peanut butter & jelly sandwiches

Breakfast:

Eggs w/ toast and fruit 
Ham & Eggs
Cereal w/ milk and yogurt 
Toast w/ peanut butter 

Snacks:
Cookies
Fruit
Yogurt
Cucumber
Carrots









My boy is growing up!

Over the weekend we took our first overnight family trip to Montauk. We stayed at the Beachcomber Resort. It was wonderful. Charlie loved the sand and the hotel. He seemed to enjoy the fact that we were in one room together for two days. I can't wait to go back when it is warmer.

Also last week, our little man said his first word - other than mom - BALL! His Uncle C. bought him a big blue kickball. He's learned to throw it with two hands over his head and he enjoys trying to bounce it. Charlie walks around the house saying "ball" every chance he gets.

On Monday (May 6th), Charlie took his first two independent steps to put a ball in his little basketball hoop. (His uncles are a little obsessed with sports.) I can't believe my little boy is growing up so fast!

In other news, I launched my Facebook shop (http://facebook.com/thehydrangeahut). Please stop by and "like" my page!

Finding like minded mommas

As a new mom on maternity leave and then a leave of absence, I struggled to find moms that I could relate to. I wasn't really a working mom. I didn't have multiple children. I didn't have a child who could play, yet. It made it really hard to find a community of women to belong to.

One of the ways I've found "mom friends" is on the internet. Meetup.com was the gateway to joining may other local and not so local mom groups. I found Meetup.com super easy to use. It was customizable to my interests and location however, it seemed that many of the groups on there weren't very active or were active but only for a small group of preexisting friends. For example, I came across a group of stay at home moms who wanted to have play dates with other people at other people's houses. However, the events actually said that you  must be friends with a specific person in order to sign up. Needless to say, I quickly became frustrated with some of those groups and moved on to Facebook.

I've been a part of #CathSorority Facebook Group for awhile. It was wonderful to find a group of women who shared my faith. In that group there were a few moms, after several conversations about poop, birthing, and breast feeding we decided to make a spin off group, #CathSorority Moms, to spare the other women from having to hear about  the aforementioned subjects. Interestingly, these online friends shared my faith and many shared my parenting style. They encouraged me to find other local groups (Long Island Baby Wearing, Long Island Cloth Diapering Moms and Dads, and Modern Tribal Mamas).

In these local groups, I have found women, Catholic and not, who enjoying the outdoors, healthy living, cloth diapering, and baby wearing. I have gotten together with them on several occasions, one I see weekly at a Little Gym class.

When you ask, "How do make friends when you aren't in school or working?" You hit the internet. Yes, some people are creepy. No, you shouldn't get together with every person you come across on the internet. But, when you are part of closed, private, secret groups that generally require some screening to join, you can take proper precautions. I've loved meeting these women both in real life and online.

If you have any interest in becoming part of any of the groups I've mentioned above, leave a comment or drop me an e-mail and I'll be happy to chat with you about joining us!

What I've been making...

A friend of mine commissioned me to knit her adorable little girl a keyhole scarf for next winter. She selected the pattern off of Ravelry and let me pick the yarn and embellishments. It was so much fun! I can't wait to see her little girl wearing it next winter. 
 

If you'd like me to make one for your little boy/girl, leave a comment or send and e-mail and I'd be glad to work with you!

What's new?

The big news is my brother (the oldest of the three boys) got engaged on Thursday!! YAY! The happy couple came up to visit us this weekend. We enjoyed celebrating with them.

My youngest brother came home from London and surprised Charlie with a Paddington Bear who is about the same size as he is. Charlie is enjoying playing with his uncle and the bear.

It is so much fun to watch Charlie grow up. I can't believe how many more sounds he is making. His sounds definitely mean something because they are different in different situations. For example, my friend Patti has a dog named Charlie and whenever my Charlie seeing him he lets out this chirping noise that I only hear when he is near the dog.

Charlie definitely wants to walk he just can't seem to get the balance down. He is flying back and forth using this plastic push toy but, whenever he realizes he isn't holding on he sits down very carefully so as not to hurt himself. He still really enjoys playing with his Fisher Price Laugh & Learn House. He loves playing "a boo" (peek a boo) - even at 5 AM. I love when he thinks he is hiding because he has a tiny toy in front of his eyes.

We have been searching for a more permanent place to live. Not sure where we will end up but, hopefully we'll have some idea soon. For the next two years or so, we'll be in NY until the hubby can wave into a new state.